ISU wrestling stays optimistic, looks for rebound in Las Vegas after loss to Iowa


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt junior Kyven Gadson, 197 pounds, circles his opponent Iowa’s Sam Brooks on Dec. 1 at Hilton Coliseum. Gadson won the match by decision. Iowa State lost the dual to Iowa 23 points to 9.

Ryan Young

After falling to in-state rival Iowa last weekend, the ISU wrestling team is optimistic but looking for a rebound.

The Cyclones won only three matches during the dual Sunday, Dec. 1, but left several close matches hanging in the balance, and ISU coach Kevin Jackson took notice.

“Our guys are competing at a good, strong level, and that’s what the Iowa meet showed,” Jackson said. “But what I really take away from it is our areas of concentration. We need to improve a great deal by the NCAA tournament, and this match points out those areas.”

No. 16 Iowa State currently holds a 5-1 record, one of its best starts in recent history.

Despite the top-20 ranking, the team is trying to avoid the hype that comes with national recognition.

“I don’t think we look at the record as much,” said redshirt junior Kyven Gadson. “For us, we look at how we competed, both individually and as a whole. When we look at that, we are pretty happy with where we are right now and where we can be in March.”

The match against the Hawkeyes this year was a drastic improvement from last year’s competition, when Iowa State fell to Iowa 32-3 in Iowa City. The Cyclones won just one match in the contest.

And while this year’s meet did not go the way the team had hoped, Gadson is still impressed with the team’s efforts and saw significant improvement.

“As a team, I think we really showed up,” Gadson said. “I’m happy with the way we preformed, especially after last season. I don’t think we competed at our level, but it is definitely something we can work on going forward.”

Redshirt freshman Lelund Weatherspoon wrestled yet again at 184 pounds, taking injured redshirt senior Boaz Beard’s spot. Weatherspoon, who generally wrestles at the 174-pound class, was 10-1 on the year and led the team in wins going into the Iowa dual.

Weatherspoon lost 4-0 on Sunday, recording just his second loss on the year. But the loss, he said, only motivates him more.

“I have a lot more stuff to work on,” said the native of Jackson, Mich. “I just need to physically and mentally get better. That meet just makes me want to work even harder. We know that we can beat them, we just need to stay focused and we’ll be fine.”

The team will depart Thursday for the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. The two-day tournament will be Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7, and will provide the team an opportunity to get back on track.

“We are moving in the right direction,” Jackson said. “I still don’t think that we have had that overall man-for-man performance yet. Hopefully, we can get that performance this weekend, and really show us what were capable of being. I think we know what were capable of, it just has yet to be shown on the mat.”